Looking at network marketing it’s clear to see that strategies have changed over the years along with the technology in use. At its core, however, network marketing remains the same. It is about building relationships.
Those who have mastered the challenging yet undeniably rewarding art of relationship building always come out on top.
The success of a network marketer is the success of his or her downline.
What is a Downline?
The downline is a term that is used to refer to the individuals who are recruited to join a program that sells a product or service and whose sales and referrals also generate income for the individual who recruited them.
The multi-level marketing business concept is established. Some companies who use this concept include Herbalife, Legal Shield, Isagenix, Avon, Nu Skin, Amway, Melaleuca, USANA, Forever Living, Advocare and Morinda to name a few.
Building a successful and continually growing downline is challenging. It is a challenge that many choose to avoid or put minimal effort. Sadly, this is to their own detriment.
The downline is where most of your money is made as opposed to from your direct sales. It is therefore in your very best interest, both financially and otherwise to start investing your time and effort into learning how to build a successful downline.
How to build a Successful Downline
1. Identifying potential new members
The first step in creating a successful downline is identifying potential new members. To do this, you must determine where they are and the best way to reach them.
If you are using calling as a strategy to recruit new members do note that the expiration date on this strategy is way past due. Not only is calling potential new members costly, but it also consumes an extreme amount of not just your valuable time but theirs too. People dislike having their time wasted and are more likely not to participate based merely on that reason.
Also, people love to buy, but they hate being sold. You may read this and conclude that you are now caught between a rock and a hard place but that’s not the case. When people say, they hate being sold to what they mean is they hate being lied to, being manipulated, or being pressured into buying something. Calling someone multiple times is a key recipe ingredient for them feeling pressured.
Back in the day, calling was a lucrative option because that was the primary way to communicate. It was expected so even if it was irritating it was tolerated for the most part. When the Internet came on board, things began to change. When social media channels joined the scene, things changed yet again.
Today there are 3.03 billion active social media channels. Users of social media have on average of seven accounts. If you think the users are strictly individuals, you would be mistaken. 91% of retail brands have two or more accounts, and 81% of small and medium businesses are using one form of social platform or another. These and many such related statistics make social media a great place target potential recruits.
If you have an established social media presence, you should start by targeting them. People prefer to do business with people they know. Therefore the likely hood that people will be willing to partner with you is high only because they know you.
Unless you have a billion followers on your social platforms, you will soon realize that you need to target individuals who are not in your direct circle. The best way to do this is to take advantage of social media advertising.
Social Media Advertising
Global social ad spending numbers have doubled from $16 billion in 2014 to $31 billion in 2016 and are projected to increase another 26% in 2017. Due in part to the fact that advertising available on social media platforms has been shown to be more effective than traditional marketing because it uses the user-specific information to create highly target relevant advertisements.
Another reason for this growth is cost. Social media advising is way more affordable than traditional marketing. For just $5 you can get an advertisement you and running on Facebook and Instagram for example.
Currently, the social platforms with the most active users that you should target to advertise on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. As you prepare to use either one, some or all of these channels, keep in mind that each platform has its vibe so make every effort to steer away from using one style of add for all.
The more suited the design of an ad is for a specific platform, the higher the chance that people will pay attention to it.
Once you invite people to join your program, you must give them something in return. That something is information. The best advertisements say just enough to entice the watcher to want to find out more. Once watchers click on the link you have shared they should be led to your website.
What Your Website Should Tell Visitors
Your website should provide as much detail as possible on the program, so potential members have a real picture of what it entails.
It should share your story, and you should also include success stories of other individuals too so that people thinking of coming on board know that this is not a one-off thing.
Honesty is vital as you tell your story. Don’t oversell the success and undersell the work involved. Most people know there is no such thing as an overnight success. Let them see the work included and reassure them that you will be there each step of the way.
Your website should also show you interacting with other members whenever possible. Only add this feature though if it is something that you can do.
Another great feature to include on your website is any tools that show how you will be supporting the growth of the members through the process. One great tool in this respect is a monthly newsletter full of tips that they can use to get their referrals. Or you may show examples of weekly emails that you send that focus on one weekly tip that they can use to help them grow.
Human beings are social creatures who value belonging and being seen and heard. If they get the feeling that you are more into building great relationships the more likely they are to join your team.
If you don’t have a website, you should get one as that is by far the norm and it will make your life a lot easier. That said, email is also an option at least in the beginning when numbers are small and manageable.
A feature of emails that you should take advantage of is auto-responses. Auto responses help you reach multiple individuals in a short period. This feature is also a great tool to help you determine who are the severe inquirers as opposed to those whom you will end up wasting time on.
2. Focus on building real relationships
Once team members start coming onboard, start focusing on building real relationships with the individuals in your team. This primarily means treating them as people and not as numbers.
Ways to do this may include:
- Finding out why they joined the program and what their expectations are.
- Support their growth by either accompanying them to some of their events or by setting regular check-in sessions.
- Establishing regular training sessions not only to improve their skills but to give them a chance to meet other members and share what they know.
- Be willing to learn from them just as they are eager to learn from you. Never assume that you can’t learn something just because you brought your new person into the program.
- If the organization you are a member of schedules global meetups throughout the year find out which of your members are going and plan to meet. Getting together will give you a chance to reach those who live far from you face-to-face and build the relationship even more.
Location and distance undoubtedly determine how you choose to build relationships with the members of your team. While face-to-face interactions may have a higher return, technology can help you connect with your members if you find yourself limited by location and distance.
For example, you can do video calls if the distance is a challenge or offer training videos on YouTube. This form of communication has become the norm and will not feel odd to the majority of the members.
Regardless of how you choose to communicate, remember the goal is never to allow yourself to become a stranger to your team.
Point out that in the beginning, as you are building your downline, you will find yourself struggling to make time to build a relationship with every member. Not to worry, not all who send you inquiries will pan out, and with time you will begin to identify them and stop wasting time on them. Also, a relationship is a process. If you put in the effort, you will get better at it in time, and you will also be able to identify the best tools to help you do so.
Relationship building is critical to your success because if your members are supported and that someone other than them is invested in their success they will be more comfortable inviting individuals from their networks to join in. As they grow so do you.